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Apple’s iPhone 7 Could Face Delays As Sole Chip Supplier TSMC Suffers Earthquake Damage

The earthquake that hit Taiwan on Feb. 6 damaged the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s (TSMC) facilities, which could impact the number of manufactured iPhone 7 handsets.

On Feb.6, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.4 Richter struck Taiwan and claimed 116 victims. The earthquake brought down 69 power lines, cutting off power and water services to 121,000 households.

The recent natural disaster did not only disrupt people’s lives, but the industrial process as well, as a DigiTimes report indicates that chipset manufacturer TSMC suffered damages to its plants.

TSMC is one of the OEMs that supply A-series chipsets to Apple. Based on recent rumors, the company could remain the sole provider of A10 chips for the iPhone maker. Should the rumor prove true, it means that the iPhone 7 handsets will be entirely dependent on TSMC’s production capacity.

So far, the A8 chips found on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus phones were made by TSMC. Previously, Apple outsourced the manufacturing of A10 chipsets to Samsung, but decided to cut the deal.

DigiTimes’ report notes that TSMC aims to have 95 percent of its activity restored in the following two or three days. The company affirms that the earthquake-caused interruption will cost it 1 percent of the total production for the current year. However, it seems that the effects of the natural disaster were underplayed and that the chip manufacturing capacity was affected more than initially estimated.

Several leaks about iPhone 7 already surfaced. For one thing, the device will be the first waterproof smartphone from Apple. Renders depict the upcoming iPhone as having a ceramic body, a metallic frame and AMOLED screen.

It seems that the iPhone 7 will renounce the 3.5 headphone jack and it will feature a quick-charging capability and an improved Touch ID. A 12-megapixel camera will join the list of new features, alongside the aforementioned A10 central processing unit.

As the iPhone 7 is scheduled to arrive later in 2016, it’s still difficult to determine how the damage to TSMC’s facilities will impact the manufacturing of the flagship device.

Taiwan lies in one of the most tectonically active regions of the world, the so called “Ring of Fire.” The strongest earthquake hit Taiwan in 1999, claiming about 2,500 lives.

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